Whether you’re learning that it’s not possible to sit through eight hours worth of lectures after an hours’ sleep, adapting your GI tract to cope with only eating pasta, or somehow getting used to living with a flatmate who combines Doritos with vodka, every student’s first year is full of weird and wonderful experiences that are supposed to shape you for the rest of your life. It’s a roller coaster that sure can make you feel a little queasy – although whether that’s down to alcohol or home-sickness remains a mystery.
On moving-in day I thought I’d arrive all calm and confident like Beca in Pitch Perfect with two boxes of clothes; it was more a game of ‘how many boxes can I carry from the car so I can get rid of the parents?’, on realising I had packed every single thing I owned. Attempting to socialise with approximately a thousand students in approximately five seconds, the reality is everyone’s nerves are firing as quickly as they’ll be bolting VKs later on.
Freshers’ Week continues in this vein; no one has the foggiest how to react – the cycle of 8.30 a.m. lectures, trying out all the taster sessions for every society ever, followed by a poorly-cooked meal washed down with copious amounts of alcohol. Whilst others may be afraid to say it, I’m happy to admit I struggled. By Wednesday I was broken, broke, and wanting to drop out. I thought ‘if this is uni, then this isn’t what I came for’.
Attempting to socialise with approximately a thousand students in approximately five seconds, the reality is everyone’s nerves are firing as quickly as they’ll be bolting VKs later on
So I was overwhelmingly thankful when the ‘proper’ lectures started with a bang; the panic of almost missing the only free bus to Streatham on more than one occasion tempered by the relief of discovering that the Alumni Auditorium has very comfortable chairs.
It could be said that the first few months are an adjustment period; yet two months down the line and things are as crazy as ever. Whether it’s the opportunity to dress like a butterfly for my rowing social, endlessly search for the one human physiology textbook everyone wants from the library, or waiting for that pasta to boil, first term certainly is a time I won’t forget. From the friends whom I can honestly tell anything, to the vaguely friendly faces I smile at in faint recognition from a night out, the rush of deadlines, and the smug feeling of answering your first question in a packed lecture theatre, you can never be quite prepared for everything you’ll experience when you start university.